The Moray East wind farm in Scotland is facing allegations of exploiting a loophole and receiving payments even when not producing electricity, resulting in a revenue of £647 million. The Renewable Energy Foundation (REF) has raised concerns that consumers may have overpaid by hundreds of millions of pounds.
Located in the Moray Firth, the Moray East wind farm comprises one hundred 9.5MW turbines and is primarily owned by Ocean Winds.
According to REF's analysis covering the period from June 2021 to July 2023, the wind farm received over £1.1 billion in revenue. Initially, Moray East secured a Contract for Difference (CfD) with a guaranteed price of £57.50 per megawatt-hour (MWh) in 2012 prices, equivalent to around £74.49 in current prices. However, the wind farm exercised a government-granted power to postpone the start of the contract, allowing it to benefit from higher market prices.
REF estimates that if Moray East had implemented its CfD and delivered electricity at the contracted price, it would have received £350 million, with the remaining approximately £460 million benefiting consumers.
Additionally, the wind farm allegedly received payments for curtailing its output during times when the electricity couldn't be utilized locally or transmitted due to grid congestion.
In response, a spokesperson for Ocean Winds stated that "Moray East remains on course to start its CfD within the contractual terms set by the process and has always acted in accordance with this agreement."